Movie Review - The Houses October Built
When I first sat down to watch The Houses October Built, the storyline excited me, thinking to myself, 'how cool would it be to go on a real trip like this with some friends?' By the end of the movie, I had decided to never take that plummet into darkness. This is a fantastic film, constantly gripping and moves smoothly throughout. Now, I am one for going to all different kinds of halloween haunts and mazes, so this film was right up my alley. Like a halloween haunt theres a lot of jump scares throughout the film that some may find to be tacky or manipulative, although I find that for a film like this they were used in a way to portray the haunts in a silly and ridiculous light so that the characters motives were kept on track for the project. This is also a found footage film which especially in the past couple years has been played out a lot, but this film keeps it fresh and really immerses you into believing that you are watching a recovered tape that some friends lost after they died. Although there were a few points, like most found footage films, where I was left wondering, how did they get that shot?
Now not to give anything away, as the end of this film left me literally breathless with a mild anxiety attack. It is about a group of friends, led by their buddy Bobby who go on a trip mainly around Texas, branching out near the end to find the most extreme halloween haunts in the USA. They are constantly interviewing the workers about all the shady things that go on at haunts such as accidental suicides, sexual harassment, and real life murder. Along the way, of course, they make some enemies who want their camera, who aren't happy they are filming, or are just plain nasty redneck perverts. The group of friends starts to find themselves being harassed a bit more and more as the film goes on, starting with a wonderfully eerie masked girl who follows them onto their bus after showing up at numerous of the other mazes along the way. From that point on, the film is a bit of a roller coaster ride, making you wonder where this is really going and how to end such a film. And like I said prior, the ending really left me shook up, and I'm not easily shaken.
The director Bobby Roe did an excellent job, and all the actors had great chemistry, as I believe they all actually took a trip like this for a documentary with the same name a few years back. The conversation keeps the film feeling realistic without letting the audience tune in and out for only the scares. The camera work wasn't too all over the place so don't worry too much about getting queasy like a lot of the found footage films out. When the camera did get a bit shaky it was completely justified. I seriously recommend this film as it is one of my favorite horror films this year. It truly made me miss my favorite month October, so if you ever get a little bit reminiscent of good o’l hallows eve, just go on out and find this sucker and you'll be drooling nostalgia.
- Jarrett Furst